What is one to do after graduating from the highly prestigious Berkelee School of Music? Well for pop singer/songwriter Chelsea Dash, this is included but not limited to:
- Perform at the Staples Center, Madison Square Garden, The Palace of Fine Arts, AND the Marin Civic Center
- Perform at the WHITE HOUSE for their annual Christmas party
- Write and record music with the multi-platinum producer/songwriter behind such artists as the Backstreet Boys, Pink, and Jessica Simpson (Chris Rojas)
- Come to be know as the "Badass Barbie Doll of Pop"
You know. Just the usual. I recently spoke with Dash about her upcoming Dangerous EP, her music video for the song "Massive Attack", and much more.
Everything that I have read about you will refer to you, at one point or another, as the “Badass Barbie Doll of Pop”. How did that term come about? I love it.
Thanks! Well, I’ve always been playfully teased about looking like a life size “Barbie Doll”. It’s an inescapable comparison I’ve learned. I can’t shake it (Platinum blonde hair, blue eyes, etc)! Since I write pop music that’s got a bit of an edge to it, that, combined with my “Barbie-esq” looks, and a bubbley yet at times, a bit tough of a personality, the ideas were just naturally blended together, so much so that music peeps just started referring to me as the “Bad Ass Barbie Doll of Pop”. It’s a nickname that seems to have stuck and I actually think it’s kinda rad!
You’ve written music with Chris Rojas (songwriter producer for artists like Backstreet Boys, P!nk, and Jessica Simpson). When collaborating, what did he bring to the table for you as a songwriter, in terms of helping you develop the songs you worked on (i.e., Quicksand)?
I actually worked with Chris during my very early Berklee days. Chris is an amazing producer and writer. Such a great ear! I remember at first being really intimidated by him because I was such a novice at the time and he was so polished! The original version of "Quicksand" we wrote was very dance oriented (the new version, was re-produced with Tomas Costanza for the Dangerous EP; it’s edgier, darker, sultry, and more bad ass). It was so early in my process of developing myself as an artist, so it was fun to experiment with that and also expand into different sonic channels from there and find my "sound". He definitely taught me the importance of stacked harmonies too in back up vocals (and doing my own backup vocals). That's one thing that's always stayed with me. I'm a sucker for harmonies and a witty lyric!
After watching the video for “Massive Attack” and reading about it, I really got the vibe that the video gives off this message of strength, and the idea of never giving up and going after what you want. What inspired you personally to create a video with that message?
I wanted to make a song that had a total badass and mysterious trip hop vibe to it but also touched on a deeper subject. At first listen it comes off as a 007/femme fatale story but when you dive into it, there’s also another layer to it, of going after what you want, being willing to fight for it, standing up for yourself and never giving up no matter what the cost. Clearly you got that, and that’s dope! The song is sort of a reminder to myself to never back down if it’s something that I truly want- just go for it with ferocity! Everyone needs those little reminders every now and then! The video is a bit of a more literal take on it but in the essence of visual art, entertainment and fun, we decided to ad an element of a modern “Bonnie and Clyde” to it. There’s a bit of a twist at the end though; so for anyone reading this who hasn’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil it for you!
I’ve heard that you are an alumni of the Berkelee College of Music in Boston. I know people on both ends of the spectrum: those that love the idea of going to school for music, and those that don’t. In your opinion, what were some of the most beneficial aspects about attending a school like Berkelee for music education? Were there any specific ways that it helped your songwriting capabilities?
When I started at Berklee, I was basically just a singer who also dabbled in songwriting. Berklee took me from being a great singer and groomed me into a true musician and legit songwriter. It was challenging but totally worth it. Musically, I feel very well rounded now. I also studied Music Business while at Berklee, so that has helped me navigate the business aspect of all that I do creatively. It’s true, you don’t need a degree in music to be a professional musician, but for me, Berklee just added to my natural talent and enabled me to become a very well rounded musician.
For the Dangerous EP that’ll be coming out in the fall, about how long did it take for all of the songs to come together, from pre-production to the recording studio?
It took about a year. It’s not just about the writing and recording- that’s the easy part actually! It’s about finding the right producer to bring your ideas to life. I met with a bunch of producers before narrowing it down to 3 main dudes. Once the writing and recording is complete, all the songs must be mixed and then mastered.
What kind of message, if any, would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
I want my fans to feel strong, powerful, and alive when they hear my music but also to have that playful and fun element as well. I also hope that a little bit of my "bad assy-ness" will rub off on them! I want to show people that young woman can be pretty, sexy, and fun but also strong, no- nonsense, fearless, bad ass and most of all, intelligent and classy. That’s the Chelsea Dash vibe in a nutshell!
What does music mean to you?
Someone once told me “Music Is life and Life is love”. It sounds like some cheesy mantra but it’s true! It’s like a circle. Music means everything to me and what a powerful thing to be able to capture so many emotions and so many stories in a 3 minute piece of sonic art. There’s nothing else in the world that can do that! :)
This has been another Shameless Promotion.